It was no accident
It is a great day, 47 years in the making, to see Founder’s closed permanently. You may remember that just two years ago, Founder’s closed temporarily as the clinic owners and management were in conflict. That ended with the management opening a new clinic (Your Choice). Founder’s reopened several months later. I continue to pray for the men and women who owned, worked at, volunteered with, or sought services at Founder’s Women’s Health, and I know that I am joined by many in the community.
Note: If any former abortion workers, volunteers, or supporters are reading this and would like to talk to someone, you are welcome to give us a call and we will listen or refer you to help. We also know that there are many women and men who are hurting following their own abortions and news of Founder’s closing may bring that pain forward. Help, forgiveness, and healing are available. You can find free, confidential help by contacting our office or visiting our website.
While we celebrate this day, I want to make it very clear that we are not here by accident; we are here because of countless people in our community who have prayed, fasted, offered up sufferings and sacrifices, and served those most in need. Our goal has always been to give women a better choice and end abortion, and we have made tremendous strides in that goal. As more and more women have received help and support, we have seen clinic after clinic that provide and promote abortions close in our community – not because of changes in laws and not because of changes in the courts, but because of changes in hearts and culture.
Seven years ago, I stepped down from the Board of Trustees to accept the position of executive director. At that time, we made the strategic but surprising decision to step back from political action to focus on building up individuals, families, churches, and communities. I am not one to see signs everywhere, but my first event as ED of GCRTL was the “Roe Rally” on the 40th anniversary of Roe V Wade. I remember feeling a great heaviness at the role I was taking on, but also feeling hopeful – mindful of the Biblical symbolism of 40 on that 40th Anniversary.
I decided – with the brash naivete that can only come from inexperience, that my goal at GCRTL was to see Founder’s – Ohio’s first abortion clinic, close. My predecessor started a sidewalk program that met mostly on weekends, and I decided that we would instead build a team to cover the clinics every day and every hour that Founder’s was open and then every day and every hour we could cover the other clinics. The plan was crazy, naïve, and impossible.
You may have heard the line, “We plan and God laughs…” Well, within my first week in this role, Complete Healthcare for Women, which at the time performed abortions, announced an expansion into Pickerington. Immediately, we rallied the local community and we continued our dedication to prayer, fasting, and counseling, focusing on the Pickerington and Cleveland Avenue locations. At that time, we also began identifying the dirty secrets of the abortion industry and making them public. By the end of 2014, Complete Healthcare for Women ceased doing abortions, one of the owners of Founder’s was indicted on charges of child pornography, and numerous cases of medical malpractice and filthy conditions were brought to light. We started encountering more and more women who would choose life when presented with prayerful, peaceful activism and options. Year after year, abortions declined significantly in central Ohio, and most years our region led the state in reductions. Specifically, we have reduced abortions by 40%. There have been 13,042 fewer abortions that have happened in central Ohio than had our numbers remained static at 2012 levels. Comparably, statewide, the decline has only been 20% and the total state reduction in abortions has been 25,470. This is a jaw-dropping impact.
In the past seven years, there have been many moments where I have wondered if what we are doing is worth it. I’ve seen great volunteers leave for other missions, I’ve seen great volunteers get burned out, and I’ve seen casual volunteers turn into all-stars. I’ve cried with women hemorrhaging after their abortions, with women who regret their abortion, and with fathers who desperately wanted their children, and I’ve wept at the cold and hard-heartedness of those who are intent on abortion. We have been harassed and cursed by abortion advocates. We’ve seen division and squabbling and political factions. I’ve made mistakes by the handful. It hasn’t all been bad. I’ve met the most incredible, faith-filled people who give me more grace and more benefit of the doubt than I deserve. Together, we’ve celebrated women who turned away from their abortion appointments and met babies whose families credit our team with their babies’ lives. We’ve celebrated legislative and legal victories, and weathered through disappointments. But still, sometimes I wonder, has it been worth it?
Friends, it is worth it. Seven years ago, I felt the heaviness of 40 years of abortion and the toll it has taken on our community and our country. I still feel it. However, it is not lost on me that seven years after all of you stepped up to support my crazy, naïve, impossible plan to see Ohio’s first abortion clinic close, it has, because all things are possible with God and this amazing community striving to do His work.
So today I’m going to ask you to back me in another crazy, naïve, impossible (but totally possible) plan. Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinic on East Main Street opened its doors in 1999. We’ve already shown that a steady campaign of prayer, peaceful presence, public information, and offering life-affirming assistance can close Ohio’s first abortion clinic; now let’s show up until we close Ohio’s biggest abortion clinic.
We have a great model here in central Ohio; now all we need is your help. I said that the symbolism has not been lost on me. After 47 years in business, Ohio’s first abortion clinic closed during my 7th year work anniversary, but it also closed 7 days before my 40th birthday. I’m thankful to God for the most perfect gift He could have sent me.
But I’m asking you to consider helping me to celebrate my birthday by helping others to celebrate theirs. I’m asking for 40 new prayer partners and sidewalk ministers to step up to help me with this crazy, naïve, and impossible (but totally possible) plan. Our world is standing with Planned Parenthood, but for my birthday, I’m asking you to stand outside of Planned Parenthood. Sign up to join our sidewalk team, find another volunteer role, or support our work with a donation. Because with God, all things are possible!